Native Village 

Youth and Education News

January 26,  2005,  Issue 145 Volume 1

“Why have we as a people been able to continue to exist? Because we know where we come from. By having roots, you can see the direction in which you want to go." Joênia Wapixana

Tse-whit-zen existed before Christ walked the Earth
Washington: Tse-whit-zen is 1,000 years older than scientists originally thought. The Native American village in Port Angeles may be as old as 2,700 years, said Frances Charles, chairwoman of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.  Scientists have called Tse-whit-zen (pronounced cha-wheet-zen)  the largest Native American archaeological site in Washington and one of the most significant in the nation.

Utah site reveals a new past
Utah: About 1,000 years ago in eastern Utah, someone stashed a quiver of arrows under a rock ledge. He -- for the owner was almost certainly a man -- had crafted them carefully from reeds, twigs and stone, held together with sinew. One was striped with black paint. The man, a member of the Fremont culture, never came back -- archaeologists found the quiver under a partly collapsed ledge last summer. Now, researchers are trying to figure out why he and the Fremonts disappeared.  "Something big" happened in this part of the world about 1300, said Kevin Jones, Utah's state archaeologist. Some believe exploding populations, a years long drought, and competition for resources forced the Fremont and Anasazi their neighbors to stop farming and retreat to steep cliff homes.  "These people were fearless," said archaeologist Duncan Metcalfe. "Absolutely fearless ... about the natural environment."

  Remembering the first American Indian female MD
Nebraska: Susan La Flesche was the first Native American female medical ]doctor. Born in 1856, the Omaha tribal woman graduated top in her class  from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvani .  After a Philadelphia internship, Suzanne moved to the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska and became physician to her tribe. Suzanne, whose married name was Picotte, also served as "medical missionary" for her tribe, traveling throughout the Omaha Reservation, making house calls in addition to receiving patients in her office. During this time, she worked for the government's Office of Indian Affairs.  Throughout her life, Suzanne worked for improved health conditions of the Omaha tribe. She died on September 18, 1915.

Some good news, a tribe of 50 survives in Andamans
India: The king and queen live. So do their 48-odd subjects. The Great Andamanese—the tiny aboriginal tribe believed to have been the first to come in direct contact with the British—have been found after the recent Tsunami. ‘"They are alive! I can’t tell you what a loss it would have been had they, too, been lapped up by the surging waters,’’ said an elated Tribal Welfare Officer. ‘‘An entire chapter would have been erased from history."  The tribal officer was working in a hilltop laboratory when she felt the earth shaking. Water gushed into the room, pulling her away. She and about 14 other tribal members grabbed a coconut tree and climbed to the top until the waters receded. ‘‘Thank God we are all safe," said one tribal member. "The hill saved us."  The Great Andamanese are an extremely tight-knit tribe that rarely ventures out of the thickly wooded Strait Island or marries outside the community. However, with its numbers dwindling and with the encroaching modern world, the tribe is in danger of losing its unique identity. "Youngsters don’t want to adapt to their ways of life," said one official. "Many of them have studied till about [eighth grade] and don’t really take much interest in what the elders care about. While they want the children to learn their traditional arts of drum-making, crafting waist bands, etc., the youngsters want to move out.’’ The tsunamis, many fear, may prove the final blow. Taking every precaution from its side, the district administration has settled the Great Andamanese in Adi Baser for now, in a little-explored corner of the Andean Islands. The zone has been declared a "Restricted Area", guarded by security men, and placed out of bounds of the public.

Leaders of parade protest acquitted
Colorado: Eight protest leaders who blocked Denver's 2004 Columbus Day parade were found "not guilty" of failing to obey a lawful police order. The eight--Glenn Morris, Ward Churchill, Natsu Saito, Reginald Holmes, Nita Gonzales, Leroy Lemos, Glenn Spagnuolo and Troy Lynn Yellow Wood--had joined 200 people in linking arms and blocking the parade route.  They said the parade celebrated the demise of Native Americans and was ethnically intimidating to all American Indians, especially their children. Jurors embraced the defendants afterthe verdict.  "The protesters stood up for what was right," said jury foreman Eric Ruderman. "They did the right thing for the right reason."  After the verdict, the leaders immediately asked the city to halt similar Columbus Day parades in the future.

Storm delays Labrador Inuit land claim signing get Labrador icon
Labrador - Storms stranded politicians and postponed the signing ceremony that will bring self-government to Labrador's Inuit people. 30 years in the making, a self-government agreement for Labrador's Inuit people gives the 5,000 members land, mineral and marine rights, and the means to establish their own government. Their new area will be known as Nunatsiavut meaning "our beautiful land." 
*More than 75% of Labrador's eligible Inuit voted to ratify the agreement;
*The package involves $130,000,000 in compensation and royalties from resource development, and another $120,000,000 to establish self-government;
*The total settlement area covers 72,520 square kilometres of northern Labrador;
*The Inuit will own 15,800 square kilometres of that land and will co-manage the remaining area;
*The Inuit will have special rights along the coast to 44,030 square kilometres of sea;
*The agreement includes benefits for the more than 2,000 Inuit living in Labrador, but outside the settlement area;
*The Inuit will also gain the right to control health, education and justice in five communities.
The LIA deal is the last Inuit land claims agreement in Canada.
Labrador Inuit Association:

Nunavik Inuit Demand Public Inquiry On Massive Slaughters Of Sled-Dogs
KUUJJUAQ: Makivik Corporation is calling on Quebec and Canada for a public inquiry about the extermination of hundreds of sleddogs in Nunavik. These killings, carried out by government representatives, occurred in the 1950s and 60s. Nunavik Inuit want an official apology and financial compensation for the losses which wreaked havoc on a key component of Inuit culture. The Inuit have collected over a hundred interviews among elders whose dogs were killed. They also have testimony from witnesses who watched the extermination of entire sled-dog teams. "The Inuit of Nunavik did not consent to these exterminations," says Pita Aatami, President of the Makivik Corporation. "And they were never consulted as to the appropriateness of the decision to massacre their dogs."
Canada NewsWire

Controversial Blood Samples Return To B.C.
British Columbia: In the early 1980s, 883 Nuu-chah-nulth tribal members donated 30 millilitres of blood for what scientist Ryk Ward said would be a genetic study of arthritis funded by Health Canada.  The arthritis study was inconclusive, but Ward later extracted DNA to analyze the genetic diversity among the Nuu-chah-nulth. He published several research papers on his findings but never informed the Nuu-chah-nulth, who were furious when they learned of the studies. Recently, hundreds of frozen vials of blood and nine boxes of notes and records were handed over to the Vancouver Island tribe. But the Nuu-chah-nulth are concerned that not all the blood and genetic materials have been returned.
The Vancouver Province

Traditional storytelling celebrates life, nature
Montana: Rob Collier's grandmother was the storyteller in his life. She shared  tales every day, at every opportunity. Today, Collier is sharing what he learned from her and other members of his Nez Perce Indian tribe. "You can go outside and turn around, and there is a story for every rock, every tree, every bush you can see," said Collier. "Everything was explained by a story."  Collier said he learned the Nez Perce stories in his native tongue, Sahaptin. Many of those stories are now lost, but Collier is trying to write them down  to preserve them for future generations. In the meantime, he passes them on to his own kin, including his grandson, Micah. "Last time, I looked out and saw him mouthing the words of the story," Collier said. "By now, he's heard them many times."  

Bambi in Arapaho


Bambi in Arapaho is the result of an effort between The Walt Disney company and the Arapaho Nation to preserve the endangered Arapaho language. The film was recorded in Arapaho to help teach Arapaho youngsters their tribal language.  (Currently, the youngest Arapaho fluent in the language is 45 years old.) The voices are provided by 20 children and 10 adults from the small Arapaho community of Ethete, Wyoming. Never before has a feature-length children's animated movie been dubbed into an Indian language.
Bambi in Arapaho:

Tribal voices rise again
Louisiana: The last known speaker of Chitimacha died in 1940, but thanks to old recordings, young students are bringing the language back to life. "There was a movement to document endangered languages [by government ethnographers], and we just got lucky," said Chitimacha Tribe Cultural Director Kim Walden.  The Chitimacha language, spoken for 7,000 years, was the victim of countless indignities suffered by Native Americans during forced assimilation.  "We had never heard the language spoken, only a few words," Walden said.  "My grandparents were ordered not to speak it, like what was done with the (Cajun) French." From the old recordings, field notes, and bits of the language remembered by elders, the Chitimacha tribe developed a curriculum to teach the language to children as early as six weeks old.  Out of 1,070 tribal members, 121 are enrolled in language classes.  At the tribal school, Chitimacha lessons are required in grades K-8.  Language instruction is also given at the tribal daycare center, and special classes are held for adults and elders interested in the language.
The Advertiser

Smithsonian supports Native language project
Utah: Lyle Campbell from the Smithsonian says most Native language are in danger of dying out. Of 175 in use, only 20 are being taught to younger generations. The Smithsonian Institution has now partnered with the University of Utah's Center for American Indian Languages for a language preservation project. The project focuses upon the Shoshone language which is used by only 2,200 people. Linguists will sort through 120 audio tapes of interviews, stories and other information made during the 1960s and 1970s.   
Deseret Morning News

Learning A New Language Not A Foreign Concept
Oklahoma: The diversity of languages in Oklahoma is bringing an international focus to the state.  "Becoming a global marketplace is one of Oklahoma's key goals," said Lois Lawler-Brown from the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation.  "It's also important we study a second language and look at starting that at a very early age and incorporate it in appropriate ways." In other countries, children begin studying foreign languages between 6 and 9 years old.  'Research shows in different ways how having a second language and approaching a foreign language early enhances problem-solving and critical-thinking skills,"  Lawler-Brown said. Oklahoma's population has grown 1.8% since 2000, with 40% from international immigrants.  Hispanics make up the largest block of immigration with other people speaking Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, German, Italian, French, Hmong, Cantonese, Arabic and several dialects in the Indian languages.  Oklahoma's American Indian tribes are making special efforts to preserve and teach their native languages.  "One of our strengths in Oklahoma is our heritage and culture in Native America," said one representative.  "That is known all over the world.  People are interested and fascinated and want to learn more about the Native American heritage.  It is a real positive part of our community."
Tulsa World

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